Symphony 101

All your symphony questions–Answered!

If you are attending your first Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra (DSSO) concert, below are some frequently asked questions to help make your experience more enjoyable.

About the experience:

  • Should I arrive early?
  • What should I wear?
  • How long will the concert be?
  • When should I clap?
  • What should I do with my cell phone during the concert?
  • Can I bring my kids?
  • About the experience

Should I arrive early?

Absolutely! At 5pm the box office is open to pick up any will call tickets. And at 6pm, prior to each concert, Bill Bastian presents a pre-concert talk on the Mezzanine level of the Auditorium. If you’re unable to attend the pre-concert talk, plan to arrive at least 20 minutes before concert time, so you can find your seat and have some time to read the program notes. The Box Office can get pretty busy on concert night, so plan your visit accordingly so the concerts can start on time.

What should I wear?

There is no dress code! Anything that makes you feel comfortable is fine. Most people will be wearing business clothes or slightly dressy casual clothes, but you’ll see everything from khakis to cocktail dresses.

How long will the concert be?

It varies, but most orchestra concerts are about 90 minutes to two hours long, with an intermission at the halfway point. It’s a good idea to take a look at the program before the concert starts to get an idea of what to expect.

When should I clap?

In most classical concerts the audience doesn’t applaud during the music. They wait until the end of each piece, then let loose with their applause. But this can be a little tricky, because many pieces seem to end several times—in other words, they have several parts, or “movements.” These are listed in your program.

In general, musicians and your fellow listeners prefer not to hear applause during the pauses between these movements, so they can concentrate on the progress from one movement to the next. Sometimes, though, the audience just can’t restrain itself, and you’ll hear a smattering of applause during the pause before the next movement. It’s perfectly OK to join in if you enjoyed the music, too.

What should I do with my cell phone during the concert?

During the performance, all cell phones, tablets, pagers – anything that makes noise or glows – should be off.  Intermission is a perfect time to check your Facebook or Twitter feed or post a quick photo of yourself and other symphony goers on Instagram (don’t forget #DSSO).  Just make sure you turn your device off before intermission is over.

Can I bring my kids?

It depends on the concert and on the age of your child. Many standard-length classical concerts are not appropriate for small children because they require an attention span that is difficult for youngsters to maintain. Most concerts also are held at night, and stretch beyond “bedtime.” For most concerts we recommend that children be at least eight years old to attend. DSSO Pops concerts and Youth Orchestra concerts are suited better for younger ages. Also, the Masterworks/Discovery Concerts would be more appropriate for younger audiences.